Summer squash is another love affair of mine. At this time of year, farmers’ markets are full of all colours, shapes and sizes of crooknecks, pattypans and zucchinis also known as summer squash. Did you also know that these guys are related to the melon and the cucumber? And if you’re confused as to why I’ve posted a photo of fettucine, keep reading.
Ode to the zucchini
Here are some of the reasons that I like to eat summer squash, or zucchini, especially during this time of year:
- Versatility. You can make so many things with a zucchini. I’ll share lots of recipes with you as the weeks go by. But for now, think of zucchini salads, ratatouille, grilled zucchini… I could go on.
- Health factor. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C (which is a potent antioxidant that helps to reduce free radical damage). Summer squashes are also high in phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that also act as antioxidants. On my blog, I’ve talked about how great it is to enjoy fruits and veggies raw during this time of year, so keep reading for an excellent raw zucchini recipe that keeps the valuable nutrients that I’ve mentioned intact (vitamin C, especially, is destroyed by heat).
- One zucchini can be turned into a lovely “pasta” dish. It’s low in calories, low on the glycemic index (meaning that it won’t raise your blood sugar like wheat pasta will), which makes it ideal pasta replacement. And fresh cut zucchini “pasta” doesn’t contain any of the additives or allergens that typically lead to the post-pasta bloat. It’s the perfect late-summer dinner. And you can make it with regular tools that you have in your kitchen.
Spiralizer? Nope. All you need is a vegetable peeler and a sharp knife. It takes less than five minutes to crank out a serving of “noodles” that will charm the pants off anyone you serve them to.
Hand-cut zucchini fettucine
Trim the ends off the first zucchini and lay it on its side. Run the peeler along the length of the zucchini to get the first pass of the peel off. Repeat, until you reach the seeds, stacking slices of “peel” as you go. Turn the zucchini to the next side, and repeat. Slice each small stack into thick-ish noodles (that resemble hand cut fettucine), and place in a bowl. Once all sides have been peeled, and only seeds remain, start the next zucchini.
Top with your favourite pesto, some cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and/or olives and dig in!